New

Seeing as one of my personal goals is to visit at least one new place and try one new activity every year, I thought this week’s photo challenge would be a good opportunity to look back at the new places I’ve visited and the activities I’ve tried since starting this blog.

My trip to Pisa was as amazing cultural experience…

DSC_0072

Pottery is something that I’ve always wanted to try, and I seemed to always just miss out on the opportunity until I enrolled on the one day workshop at the Howardian Centre in Cardiff…

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA

Sleeping ‘rough’ in St Davids 2 car park in Cardiff as part of the Sleep Easy Challenge helped to raise awareness of the issues surrounding homelessness. We also raised enough money to keep an emergency room open at the YMCA hostel. Click the link to see an updated comment from Mandy Caddy about this year’s event and how you can get involved…

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA

Taking part in the Cardiff Photo Marathon saw 400 of us running around the city like mad people for 12 hours, desperately trying to find our next shot. I was exhausted by the time I handed in my memory card, but it was a great experience…DSC_0032

I volunteered at an eco-campsite in Anglesey, North Wales for a week. I later found out from my mum that this was possibly not my first time visiting Anglesey, although if I have been before it was when I was a baby and I don’t remember it…DSC_0085

I’ve visited London lots of times, but every time I go there I found another part of the huge city that I haven’t explored before…DSC_0202

I decided to visit Boulogne-sur-mer, France because it is accessible by bus from Cardiff. I love that I live in Wales, yet I can be in a foreign country with a totally different culture within a day…DSC_0108

The high ropes course at Go Ape is not something I would have signed up for before, but I agreed to try it as part of a friend’s hen weekend. Even though I’m petrified of heights, I conquered my fear and completed the whole course…PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA

Completing my first 5k was a reminder to myself of what I can achieve…IMG_0289

There are some new activities that I’m not very good at, and some that I just plain suck at. Archery is one of those activities…DSC_0325

New places that involve snow I can ski on are always my favourite. In January 2014 I went to Pila, Italy (not to be confused with Pisa, see above) with my parents and their friend…

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA

My initial reason for visiting Iceland was to see the Northern Lights, but I discovered so much more whilst I was there. I can’t wait to go back some day and explore more of the island…DSC_0236

I love being an aunty, and getting to try new activities with my nephew, nieces and godchildren make them even more special. I hadn’t planned to go mountain carting, my niece and nephew chose the activity and I’m so glad they did…DSC_0680

Learning to scythe was also a skill I never thought I’d acquire, until my volunteer work at the community garden led me to Phil the scythe master…DSC_0925This post is part of the Photo Challenge ‘New’. Click here to see more entries and a photo of a really cute baby.

Advertisements

Hidden talents

A few weeks ago I told you about a new activity I tried – pottery! This week I went to collect the pieces that I made in the workshop, all ready after the tutor had fired and glazed them for us. As promised, here is a photo of the finished product.

DSC_0001

OK, I’m no sculptor, but they turned out better than I expected!

New Activity: Pottery Workshop

Today I got to try something that I have wanted to do since I was a child – pottery. We did have a kiln fitted at my high school a couple of years before I left, but for some reason I was never allowed to use it. I think maybe my sewing teacher had spoken to the art teacher and told her I was the one who kept (accidentally) breaking the sewing machines, and I was probably best kept away from machinery. On the plus side, I did get very good at hand-sewing whilst I was at school.

Anyway, back to the pottery. My local learning centre (the same place where I studied Welsh at night school) sometimes organise one-day courses in selected subjects such as arts and crafts, cookery and plumbing. When I learnt that today’s one-day school included pottery, I couldn’t wait to enrol.

Pottery is generally a very lengthy process as you have to wait for things to dry and be fired in the kiln in between the various stages. As we only had five hours, our instructor suggested we try making some slab pieces and plates because they are realistic to achieve in a day.

Slab work is when you cut the clay into pieces (or slabs), mould them into the various shapes you require, and then finally stick them all together to form the final object. So, for example, if you wanted to make a cup you would cut a slab for the main body of the cup, wrap it around something circular to create the right shape, cut another slab for the base and then attach a handle. We made the plates by pushing the clay into plaster moulds.

Making pottery look good really is a skill. The clay is nice and soft when you first bring it out of the bag, but it drys really quickly when it comes into contact with the air and is a lot fiddlier to handle than I imagined. Also, the clay in very sticky. When you’re rolling it out you have to keep moving it around so that it doesn’t stick to the table. Our instructor showed us how to imprint patterns into the clay using scraps of embossed wallpaper. I tried to do this on a vase that I was making, but then as soon as I tried to do anything else on the vase I ended up with my fingerprints all over my pretty pattern!

By far the part I enjoyed the most was decorating my pottery. You paint the clay using slip, which is basically watered-down clay with colourant added. It’s not the easiest thing that I’ve painted with, but I think I managed to pull it off. When working with pottery, it’s hard to tell how things are going to look once they’ve been in the kiln. I get to collect my pieces at the end of the month, so I’ll let you know the results. In the meantime, here’s a picture I took of one of my projects before it gets fired. It started off as a mug, but I was struggling to make the handle and it turned out a bit bigger than I thought. So, I decided to leave it at the pot stage. If it comes out of the kiln OK, I might use it to keep my paintbrushes in.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA